COVID-19 - Will it change how we work?

Discussion in 'Commercial Property' started by Scott No Mates, 17th Mar, 2020.

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  1. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    With many businesses making plans to allow those in non-customer facing roles to work from home, do you either as a business owner or as an employee see the changes which are being made and implemented as a reaction to the Corona-virus becoming the norm for your place of work?

    In my personal experience, I have telecommuted fulltime to the point where the office is now only used if a formal meeting space is required (serviced office 2-3 km from home). All of the staff work remotely, we use the phone/cloud-based suite of programmes for all of our deliverables.

    The resultant outcome is that we do not need to travel to an office (saves most people 1+ hours/day), we aren't out and about, more family time however we do need to be more disciplined in the way we approach work, managing our time etc.

    This is not something which everyone can adapt to as they require the social interaction between other staff or where they require tuition/supervision/mentoring however works well in my situation.

    Do others feel that if this experiment in self-isolation works, this may result in wider ramifications for the commercial property industry with greater instances of hot-desking (non-dedicated workspaces), shared workspaced or complete working from home scenarios and a reduction in demand for office space and reduced accommodation expenses for the business?
     
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  2. Gockie

    Gockie Unicycle - get exhausted but never two tired Premium Member

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    I actually think yes.

    I think people who always work 5 days a week from an office will have extra flexibility like bringing it down to 3 or 4 days, and people with reasonably flexible workplaces already will be even more flexible.

    From home though, you can work really hard, or be really slack, whereas to be really slack from a workplace is harder.
    So for employees there just needs to be some sort of monitoring. Not micromanagement style, but just something to keep people accountable as what has been achieved in the day.

    Ps. We have a generous internet allowance and given the situation our provider has now made it unlimited for everybody. Good because I've been WFH for the last 2 weeks since stuffing my ankle.
     
  3. 2FAST4U

    2FAST4U Well-Known Member

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    Apart from demand for office space the commercial sector will also be impacted by decreased demand for food, hospitality and retail space. If hundreds of thousands of workers all started working from home that's thousands of coffees and meal transactions that aren't going to occur each day. Workers may still eat out or grab coffee but it will be in an area closer to their home instead of the CBD. For residential property there would also be less incentive to live as close as possible to the CBD as instead of having to travel 5 times a week it could be down to once per week.
     
  4. RPI

    RPI Property Lawyer, Town Planner Business Member

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    It's definitely about to change how a large number of:
    1. CBD eateries work (they are going under fast);
    2. Commercial Cleaners (people losing work fast - already dropping to 1 clean a week instead of multiple)
    3. Plenty others

    We have had lots of contracts terminated, business deals, leasing etc all put on hold. Impending bloodbath unless something changes quick
     
  5. Player

    Player Well-Known Member

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    Definitely agree. You're ahead of the masses.

    Aside from tools such as Zoom, skype, WhatsApp and the like, there are innovations coming with virtual meeting/collaboration rooms that are cross platform (no need for VR headsets necessarily) where people will be interacting in the room irrespective of where they are in the world. Clumsy to start with avatars, but they will get better. Definitely watch this space..........

    I have invested in an early stage education focused venture along these lines. Future will change the way some commercial real estate is purposed and may allow (to a greater degree) people to live in lifestyle areas without being close to CBD's and corporate centres. Not all vocations or businesses, but more and more will be relying on remote networking and communication.

    This is a perfect beta/pilot to see how things function even with the tools and tech we have today. Less air travel and carbon footprint may also be benefits.
     
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  6. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    You'd think cleaning should be ramped up with this threat.
     
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  7. RPI

    RPI Property Lawyer, Town Planner Business Member

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    No need to clean if there are no staff in the office.....
     
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  8. Jess Peletier

    Jess Peletier Mortgages, Finance & Property Strategy Aust Wide Business Member

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    Nothing changes for us - we've worked this way since day 1. Love it.
     
  9. Omnidragon

    Omnidragon Well-Known Member

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    Short Spotless? Not listed anymore :(
     
  10. Property Guts

    Property Guts Well-Known Member

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    yes, for sure Scott one mate. Some of this change will be permanent.
    Here's my take, based on sample of our office staff of 10. Based in Sydney, but for the last 2 weeks, we have been running the office remotely. Of the 10;
    *) One was working remotely already, travelling around the country (despite one grumpy old gringe -me - that never thought it was possible - and resisted - she is now the highest earner in the group)
    *) Two have relocated to regional area's, with no plans to come back to the city.
    *) I have relocated to south coast, with plans to spend way less time in the office.
    Weirdly enough, as a team we are now more time effective than ever. Would be very possible, that we never go back to the office, ever.

    Based on the above, my presumption is the regional area's that offer fantastic lifestyle - will take off in demand, in the coming years. (Whereas before, many of the regions suffered because of limited employment opportunities)
     
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  11. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    I'm with you @Property Guts - provided that you have good access to NBN (ie not stuck on Skymuster) and your work can be done remotely, it's cheaper than rolling out a high speed rail link and much easier.

    The towns with good access will pick up good gains if this forces a lasting change in how we work.

    I read an article in the SMH about how collaborative workplaces are struggling - some are more comfortable with 1400mm wide hot-desks but still running under capacity when social distancing is taken into account.
     
  12. Paul@PFI

    [email protected] Tax Accounting + SMSF Business Plus Member

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    People must colloborate in many roles and we crave companionship and develop trust from visual clues. This will teach us that the office isnt so bad. But it may see more jobs remote capable. Management will find gaps in the chain and that will be where it fails. Lazy susan is even lazier at home. Its like schools. They are worse remote. Parents know it too. Works for now. Just. Just as outsourcing to asia failed so will remote working as a solution. It fills some gaps.

    Zoom is one dimensional. Fills a gap. Almost.

    Retail will get smashed. Retailers may realise consumers dont GAF and staffing levels may never ever recover. The cost per square metre and its commitment is what will kill most. We dont need Westfields we need more like amazon maybe. Smart business may outfox Westfields. That Coles kid at the checkout really is helpful after all but does that gal in retail actually sell much as much a reasonable website and supply chain?

    Selling could be come more about display and then drop delivery from warehouse than off the shelf.
     
    Last edited: 10th Apr, 2020
  13. The Y-man

    The Y-man Moderator Staff Member

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    IMHO we'll still need the Westfields and VCXs as places where people congregate - that word I think is apt - a shopping centre (or "living centre" as westfield prefer to call it) seems to be a weekly spiritual gathering for many.....

    I think my workplace (Uni) will definitely get the taste of this online learning thing and how much cheaper it can do the whole thing. I suspect the student experience will be greatly dampened however, and perhaps somewhere down the road, the higher ed institution offering "face to face" will have a unique selling proposal (bit liked sliced bread....)

    The Y-man
     
  14. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Mainstream retail has been hammered of late - I don't need new clothes so these retailers have been hit, so have their online counterparts. But retail is more than the kid behind the counter or the supply chain, it's the look, feel and tactile aspects of the product which can only be experienced in-store.
     
  15. The Y-man

    The Y-man Moderator Staff Member

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    Nor do I want someone selecting my fruit and vegies....

    The Y-man
     
  16. Tillie

    Tillie Well-Known Member

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    Interesting question. Can we imagine the society that the most of the work will be done remotely, schools are all online, no need to go to shops because all shopping is online including home deliveries of groceries etc. Would the life be lonely for the many people without any human contact or are we all turning to extreme, (I mean really extreme) introverts and actually enjoy not needing to have human contacts in our lives?
     
  17. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Don't you enjoy some unknown person feeling your fruit? :p
     
  18. Lacrim

    Lacrim Well-Known Member

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    I reckon gyms won't be as prosperous post virus. A lot of people have invested in home gyms and I've noticed a on of people (who'd otherwise be in gyms), exercising in the park etc. Some may fully appreciate that they can do calisthenics etc and save some cash rather than rejoin the gym.
     
  19. The Y-man

    The Y-man Moderator Staff Member

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    For some reason reminded me of the old Nobbies Nuts TV ad.....

    The Y-man
     
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  20. shorty

    shorty Well-Known Member

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    Not necessarily. Someone who spends all day at work walking around gasbagging and not doing much can look busy, but working from home shows them up because they are not actually producing anything. Slide under the radar at work, but not from home.
     
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